Borough looks to double landholdings

Posted: Monday, July 28, 2008

FAIRBANKS - Under a plan being considered by the state, the Denali Borough could double its landholdings.

A map of the proposed land transfer shows the tracts eyed by Denali officials are located largely along the eastern boundary of Denali National Park and Preserve. The proposal calls for the Department of Natural Resources to transfer nearly 25,000 acres of state-owned land to the borough.

The department is accepting public comments on the plan through the end of July.

The borough is eligible for the land because it qualifies through an entitlement program open to boroughs and municipalities across Alaska. The state uses its land-transfer program, called the Municipal Entitlement Program, to help local governments expand their tax base, sell land and help public officials create parks.

When the Denali Borough was formed in 1990, it became immediately eligible for approximately 49,000 acres of property.

"We really tried to get as much as we could, spread out" across populated areas along the Parks Highway, Denali Borough Mayor Dave Talerico said Thursday.

A map of the proposed land transfer shows that many of the tracts now eyed by Denali officials are just west of Healy. Another stretch is located at the Jack Coghill Bridge to the Interior, sitting between the park's northeast corner and the city of Anderson.

Talerico said the borough and its residents have yet to determine exactly what to do with the various tracts. He said it will likely sell much of it to private buyers, a move that would require another round of public processes. It also could use some of the land for public parks or facilities and lease more to businesses, he said.

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